In I Peter 2:11 the apostle writes, “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.”
How can we be strangers and pilgrims among the people, places, and things we know? Can we really displace ourselves within our own lives? Be semi-present?
Aa the book of Genesis comes to a close, Jacob, before his death, insists that Joseph make a pledge. Joseph, of course, is viceroy of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh himself; and of Jacob’s sons, only Joseph can fulfill Jacobs last request.
Having lived in Egypt for seventeen years, Jacob realizes that his family has no reason to ever leave Egypt. What was meant to be temporary, seemed to have become permanent. After all, it is well with the Israelites in their exile; they are fed, protected, and seem to have a secure future.
Jacob makes Joseph pledge to take him back to the promised land, to be buried with his fathers. Worried that his descendants would mistake the Nile for the Jordan, he sends a message: do not set your heart in a land I would not allow myself to be buried.
With His resurrection Yeshua/Jesus sent us the same message: do not set your heart where He does not rest.
We are to be strangers, but deeply connected to life around us. We are to be pilgrims, yet cultivating the vineyard of people’s lives for heaven. How to reconcile?
Don’t mistake the Nile for the Jordan; don’t mistake the temporary for the eternal. Set your heart on the place of the promise, on the place where a river of living water flows, the place where the King is enthroned.
When life gets uncomfortable, it is a reminder that this is not our inheritance. When life becomes too comfortable, Jacob and Yeshua remind us that the place of rest is in His promise.
Remember, you are just passing through, doing the work prepared for this leg of the journey (Eph. 2:8–10), until you to enter the rest of the Lord, beside a river greater than the Nile and the Jordan: the river of life (Rev. 22:1).
Be well. Shalom.